The lotus effect, the hook-and-loop fastener and suction cups are just three of many examples from the field of bionic research. Many innovative technologies have their origins in nature, which came up with mechanisms better than anything humans could have invented: some animals for instance can move in a highly energy-efficient manner and can find their way and communicate even under adverse conditions. How can such extraordinary capabilities be applied to other areas? Which materials would be best suited to achieving this? Researchers in Germany are investigating these questions and developing new bionic solutions in some exciting ideas and projects. You can also read about how an Italian computer scientist in Germany intends to make robots more intelligent, learn about current funding programmes and discover our number of the month.